balancing the "floor" and "ceiling" of a barrier spell

Discussion in 'Game Mechanics Design' started by jonthefox, Nov 18, 2018.

  1. jonthefox

    jonthefox Veteran Veteran

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    Many games use a system that I like, where skills either increase in power over time, or you learn stronger versions of spells which replace your old ones. For damage spells, it's relatively simple - increase the coefficients and/or multipliers, and then compensate with a higher mp cost or cooldown. But for non-damage spells, it's more difficult:

    Take for example a barrier spell, which reduces physical damage taken. What's the weakest version of the spell that's still useful and not underpowered, and what's the strongest version of the spell that's powerful but not overpowered?

    I'm thinking the range to be something along the lines of....

    Weakest version: 50% or 75% physical damage reduction for 1 to 2 turns, single target

    Strongest version: 75% physical damage reduction for 1 to 3 turns, entire party

    What would be the weakest version you'd still find balanced and useful, and the strongest version you'd find balanced but not broken?
     
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  2. Grunwave

    Grunwave Veteran Veteran

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    If it is percentage based, you probably only need one.

    I did put a growing Magic Def debuff into my project though, and that is percentage based. My tiers are 8, 16 and 24 Percent.
     
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  3. Milennin

    Milennin "With a bang and a boom!" Veteran

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    Depends on how much a player can achieve in a turn doing Barrier vs. doing other things. I don't think I'd bother with anything below 50% reduction. But even if it prevented 100% of the damage, using Barrier doesn't get me any closer to winning a battle since battles are won by defeating all the monsters. So you're going to make me want to spend a whole turn + MP to use Barrier in some way or another, otherwise I'll just use damage abilities to get it over with faster.
     
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  4. bgillisp

    bgillisp Global Moderators Global Mod

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    I went with the following for each element:

    50%/100%/Absorb. All last 5 turns. The Absorb one has a cooldown so that it is not possible to get it up on every party member.

    I also have an ultimate which lets all party members absorb all spells that turn. Needless to say that's a very expensive spell in MP cost with a very high cooldown and you have to find something to get that spell.
     
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  5. Aesica

    Aesica undefined Veteran

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    I'd say this largely depends on how the game is balanced. If the only barrier spell in your game is something like 50% reduced damage from all magic attacks, then yeah, going any lower than that might just be a waste of time and MP. But what if you can stack these reduction effects due to a variety of skills? Consider this against a powerful foe using mainly fire damage:
    • Fire Elemental: Breathes fire, dealing 5000 damage to a random party member. Ouch!
    • Party Member 1: Uses partywide 50% magic resist barrier
    • Party Member 2: Uses partywide 70% fire resist barrier
    • Party Member 3: Uses 50% MAT debuff against the enemy
    • Party Member 4: Uses self-only 50% all damage resist barrier + taunt
    • Fire Elemental: Breathes fire, dealing (5000 * 0.5 * 0.3 * 0.5 * 0.5) ...wait for it... 188 damage to the taunting tank. That tickles!
    If your game uses lots of different ways to debuff foes and reduce incoming damage to party members, then you definitely want to use smaller values. If the above-mentioned skills were only 25% (50% for the fire resist) then you'd still have a powerful and meaningful outcome to applying damage resistance and debuffing the enemy, but it wouldn't be nearly as ridiculous: 5000 * 0.75 * 0.5 * 0.75 * 0.75 = 1055

    If the barrier and other buffs/debuffs aren't necessary against a proper boss battle, as all you have to do is hit it as hard as possible every round, then that boss was poorly designed. If that barrier means the difference between dying and surviving, then it's worth using. Remember, your party members deal 0 damage when dead.
     
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  6. jonthefox

    jonthefox Veteran Veteran

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    That's a good point about the different ways that buffs and debuffs can add up. Though, in your example, using the barrier yields 188 damage but not using it yields 355 damage...it hardly seems worthwhile. But in a world where that 70% fire resist doesn't exist, and the enemy doesn't target the knight, now let's say it's doing 2500...then the difference between 2500 and 1250 is more meaningful. Hmm.
     
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  7. Aesica

    Aesica undefined Veteran

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    True, although my point though was that the upper and lower limit for these types of abilities will depend on how many of them the player can stack. If individual element 70% resists were the only type of mitigation available, then they might be more reasonable (5000 -> 1500). Of course, I still wouldn't recommend having any kind of resist ability be that high unless it was a 1-round self-only guard action or some sort of cooldown or limit break ability. Otherwise, it becomes either a "use or die" ability or a way to completely trivialize content. Neither are good, IMO.
     
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  8. Milennin

    Milennin "With a bang and a boom!" Veteran

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    That is what I meant by making me want to use the skill. But, like, if the skill lasts 1 turn, and there's no telling when I need it, using it would feel like a complete gamble that may or may not be worth it. Either it needs to last long enough that casting it blindly still has a pay off, or strong attacks needs to be telegraphed so I can prepare for them with defensive skills.
     
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  9. gstv87

    gstv87 Veteran Veteran

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    it wouldn't make sense if a barrier can tank damage equal to 100 in the same way as equal to 2000.
    if that happens while having a barrier of 75% reduction, might as well make it 100% reduction.
    otherwise, what's the point of having the chance to increase the power of that barrier if that barrier will still reduce the damage of an increasingly powerful attack regardless of that attack's power?

    the more powerful the attack -> the more reduction by the barrier.
    doesn't make sense.
     
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  10. jonthefox

    jonthefox Veteran Veteran

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    That's the nature of all percentage-based mitigation.
     
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  11. Eschaton

    Eschaton Hack Fraud Veteran

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    Something I'd like to try is to have the Barrier/Guard make the actor invincible...but only for one turn. So the player would have to try and predict the enemy and throw up a Guard/Barrier to stop an enemy from attacking them.

    It would require a Conditional Turn Based battle system with a turn order display and enemies with pretty consistent behavior to really put to use.

    It could take a lot of guesswork out of the numbers; one number: 100% damage reduction.
     
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